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DOE Offers Conditional Commitment for a Partial Guarantee for $1.3B Loan to Largest Wind Project to Date

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a conditional commitment to provide a partial guarantee for a $1.3 billion loan in support of the world’s largest wind farm to date. The loan will finance the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845 MW wind-powered electrical generating facility located in eastern Oregon sponsored by Caithness Energy LLC and General Electric (GE) Energy Financial Services.

The Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project consists of 338 wind turbines supplied by GE. The project will use GE’s 2.5xl turbines, which are designed to provide high efficiency and increased reliability, maintainability and grid integration. The wind farm is the first in North America to deploy these turbines, which have been used in Europe and Asia.

Once completed, the project will sell 100% of the power generated to Southern California Edison through 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements. The wind facility will avoid 1,215,991 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 212,141 passenger vehicles. According to Caithness, the project will directly create 400 construction jobs, followed by 35 permanent jobs on site.

The Caithness Shepherds Flat project is the largest project to date to receive an offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), a Department of Energy program supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a FIPP financing, the Department of Energy guarantees up to 80% of a loan provided to a renewable energy project by qualified financial institutions.

The $1.3 billion loan is expected to be funded by a group of institutional investors and commercial banks led by Citi, as lender-applicant and joint lead arranger, and three other joint lead arrangers, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., RBS Securities and WestLB Securities Inc.

The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support 15 clean energy projects, resulting in $15.9 billion in total loan guarantees.


Henry Gibson

If the very large State of California cannot supply its own wind energy it should not require the use of renewable energy or buy it from out of state. The Columbia river, that does not get a drop of water from California lands and many from Canada already allows California to pretend that it is using renewable energy with the delivery of power over several long power lines.

The organic materials rotting in the shallow deltas of the tributaries of the Columbia river dams put much green house gas, methane, into the air.

This time last year many windturbines along the Columbia were idle. The figure for the production is a lie. Only the predicted yearly output averaged over a year should be published when reporting on wind farms.

It is now time to build another dam to fill up more of Yosemite for water and renewable energy. A lovely lake is less of a visual blight than turbine towers or the power towers needed to take electricity to California.

The 1.3 billion dollars could buy a significant portion of a CANDU 600 reactor that can burn used fuel rods even diluted with depleted uranium if necessary. No new uranium fuel would have to be mined for decades. It could even burn excess bomb plutonium with depleted uranium and thorium which would destroy its ability to make bombs in days. Or it could be mixed with plutonium from from used French MOX fuel to instantly destroy its ability to make bombs, but still be used as reactor fuel diluted with thorium or the cheaper "waste" uranium from pressurized water reactors.

All living things, including people, have always had radioactive potassium, carbon and uranium in them. ..HG..


"Only the predicted yearly output averaged over a year should be published when reporting on wind farms."

It may take one of these big wind projects to ascertain how well it works over a longer period of time. Another concern with wind turbines is the number of bird kills caused by the blades. Audubon is worried about this.

With Residential Power Units in millions of homes we could mix wind, solar, NG and nuclear to supply all the energy needed for a century.


Wind farms average production factor is normally between 15% and 50%. Small ground based systems (installed in questionable locations) are at the low end and very large offshore units often reach 50%.

Some ground based larger systems, installed in good wind locations, have reached 41+%.

There are many very good wind locations in North America. The Labrador and Hudson Bay shores have many good areas with strong steady winds. The same areas have many unexploited hydro resources. The same, very high voltage power lines, could transport both clean Hydro + Wind generated power to major population centers on the East Coast.

Thomas Lankester

I think someone is having problems with the (nameplate) numbers here. The London Array ( will be the world's largest offshore wind farm with a nameplate capacity of 1GW.

So how does the 845 MW (nameplate) Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project get to be called the 'Largest Wind Project to Date'. Will it have a significantly higher load / capacity factor than London Array? If so, I'd like to see the figures reported to back up the headline.

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